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Four Onboarding Mistakes to Avoid and Tips for Standing Out for Law Firms

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

As a lawyer or attorney, you know that delivering positive case outcomes along with top-notch legal services to your clients is crucial to getting positive reviews and more referrals.


There’s a way to set you and your client up for success — ensuring a smooth client onboarding process.


Onboarding is where you lay the foundation for strong, lasting relationships. Positive experiences lead to glowing reviews and referrals, which, according to Clio's 2021 Legal Trends Report, 82% and 81% of consumers are actively seeking. In the legal world, your reputation and word-of-mouth can make or break your success.


How you welcome and onboard your clients matters. Tailoring the onboarding process to their needs is important. You read our blog post about personalizing marketing and the customer experience here. Providing legal services that are customized to fit the specific needs and preferences of your clients is key to establishing a great reputation. When clients receive individualized attention and experience a client-centric approach from day one, they're not only more likely to leave positive reviews but also become advocates for your legal practice.


Offering a client experience that is customized to fit your clients' unique needs and preferences is the key to building an excellent reputation. When your clients get personalized attention and feel like they're at the center of things right from the start, they are more likely to recommend you to their family and friends.

Now, let's talk about a common challenge, especially for mid-sized law firms.


According to Clio, smaller firms are getting more resource-savvy, and mid-sized firms are lagging. Here are two possible reasons:


Lawyers in mid-sized firms are struggling to find time for billable client work.
Lawyers in mid-sized firms aren't keeping a tight grip on all their billable hours.

Effective client onboarding can be a game-changer for mid-sized firms. It streamlines the initial stages of client engagement, making everything more efficient. This frees up precious time for lawyers to focus on what they do best—providing legal services and increasing billable hours.

The goal is to make your clients feel at ease and understand important details, like:

  • What their case journey will look like.

  • What's covered in your fee (and what clients typically have to pay extra for).

  • What they can do to help ensure a successful outcome.

  • What documents or information they need to provide and when.

Here are some onboarding tips to avoid and tips for standing out:

Avoiding Onboarding Slip-ups:

  1. Say Yes to Case Management Software (or CRM): Around 85% of legal professionals use some form of software to keep their firms running. Case management software keeps all your client and case information in one place, so your team can work together seamlessly. It's the secret to better communication, a smoother client experience, and better case outcomes.

  2. Preparation is Key: Screen your clients ahead of time with a questionnaire. This helps ensure your services and their needs align, setting clear expectations before they commit. This ensures that no one is surprised later.

  3. Keep Those Documents in Check: Keep your client files and documents well-organized. Don't forget to schedule regular reviews of digital records to keep everything on track.

  4. Educate, Don't Complicate: Your clients are busy, and legal troubles are stressful. Simplify complex legal stuff with plain-language explanations to avoid misunderstandings and confusion.

  5. Promise Only What You Can Deliver: Be honest about what you can and can't do. Avoid overhyping and making promises you can't keep.

How to Stand Out in Onboarding:

  1. Personalized Welcome: Create a special welcome package for your new clients. Throw in a personal greeting, a snapshot of your legal services, and a roadmap for their legal journey.

  2. Go Digital with Signatures and Docs: Embrace digital signatures and secure document-sharing platforms to make paperwork a breeze.

  3. Offer Resources to Clients: Offer a treasure trove of resources—legal guides, FAQs, and sample documents—to keep your clients in the loop.

  4. Ask for Feedback: Send out client satisfaction surveys after milestones or case resolution. Use their feedback to keep making your services even better.

Starting off on the right foot with your clients is crucial. By investing in a solid onboarding process, law firms can boost efficiency and profitability.

NEW Marketing Solutions offers the ClientConnect onboarding. We'll customize your onboarding processes to fit your firm's unique needs. Learn more here.

Are you using Clio case management software? We're offering free, no-strings-attached client experience audits. Find out more here and schedule a quick call to see if it's a match for you.

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